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HRN Original Blog:
The Kentucky Derby Post

2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Road to Santa Anita

At this time every year it’s no secret that a certain group of 2-yr-olds are already targeting the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Generally that is because of where they stable, who their trainer is, and of course the price tag that landed in them in their barn. 

 
But that’s only a very small portion of the Juvenile talent. 2-yr-olds can be rather unpredictable on a couple of different levels. First is the most obvious: Maturity. These amazing thoroughbreds can have the pedigree of a champion but every trainer that handles this endowment is always keeping the timeline in order. When they’re ready, they’ll move on. When they need more time before they can make it to the graded stakes level is when the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile may be skipped and the 3-yr-old season becomes the new target.
 
 
A consistent variable that puts 2-yr-olds on the fast track to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile are the results in the key Graded Stakes Races run between August and mid October. While some of these wins are no surprises others can become another unpredictable ingredient on the trail to the Juvenile. Because connections opt to give their young horses a shot and enter them into one of these stakes doesn’t mean that they won’t be surprised if they win. They’ll tell you afterwards that they knew they could but at this age is when there’s no definite estimate on when their horse will make that big jump in class. When it does in this series of Stakes Races is when the Juvenile becomes a race worth going after.
 
 
So let’s take a look at the Graded Stakes races with BC Juvenile implications that have already run and those that are still on the horizon.
 
 
G2 Best Pal Stakes – 6 ½ Furlongs - Del Mar – 8/5
 
This stakes race is not included in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Challenge Series (Win & You’re In) but the performance we witnessed by the winner, Know More, left no doubts that the Juvenile is where he is headed. Do these silks look familiar? Trained by Doug O’Neil and Owned by Paul Reddam, the connections for last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, Know More is a legitimate Juvenile contender.
 
It’s a rare feat for a horse to open their racing career against Graded Stakes competition but that is where Know More began before he took the Best Pal in convincing fashion. With Garret Gomez aboard Know More was positioned nicely in 5th behind swift fractions before Gomez urged him at the top of lane and got him to wire in 1:16.14, a ½ length in front of the Filly Heir Kitty and a full length in front of 3rd place finisher Miss Empire also a Filly. Heir Kitty and Miss Empire moved on from here to the G1 Del Mar Debutante so they’ll likely be targeting the BC Juvenile Fillies.
 
 
G1 Del Mar Futurity – 7 Furlongs – Del Mar – 9/5
 
With the surprise triumph in the Best Pal Stakes, Know More, was definitely getting more attention this time around as he broke from the gate as the 8-5 favorite in the field of 11. But in the end it was Rolling Fog with Rafael Bejarano aboard who rolled home and scored for Zayat Stables and Bob Baffert.
 
 
The strategy for Know More was exactly the same: stalk mid pack and make the move at the top of the stretch. Although it was executed perfectly, Rolling Fog was just too tough to catch. Stalking no more than a length behind the early pace setter, Bejarano kept him there until they hit the stretch and put the field away.
 
 
The win was Baffert’s 2nd in a row (Drill ’11) and his Record 11th overall. The win assures Rolling Fog a place in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Field as the Del Mar Futurity is a part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. Some of the other key takeaways from the California BC Juvenile Preps thus far is that both horses in are in good company and on the right path. Since the Breeders’ Cup will be hosted by Santa Anita they will have an edge with home field advantage.
 
 
Up Next: G1 FrontRunner Stakes - 1 1/16 Mile - Santa Anita – 9/29
 
Formerly known as the Norfolk Stakes, both of these horses are probable. Neither of these outstanding 2-yr-olds has shown that they aren’t ready for two turns so it should be a great preview of their Breeders’ Cup Juvenile potential. What makes this race even more interesting is that it could be the second head to head before they meet for the rubber match – The BC Juvenile. However, this is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race so if another horse in the field snags the win, they will earn an automatic bid.
 
 
G2 Hopeful Stakes – 7 Furlongs – Saratoga – 9/3
 
On the East Coast, it is all about Shanghai Bobby. Every fall there is a much talked about horse that puts himself in the spotlight after a very convincing win. Because these horses always have top trainers and good bloodlines the spotlight includes whispers on their chances of becoming the next Juvenile Champ or even Kentucky Derby champ the following spring.
 
 
As it stands right now Shanghai Bobby is that horse. By Harlan's Holiday - Steelin' by Orientate, the colt is Trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Starlight Racing. Entering the Hopeful a perfect 2 for 2 and with Rosie Napravnik back in the irons, the score drew a lot of well earned attention.
 
 
The main reason this win was so significant was because he raced against a field filled with class. 2nd place finisher Fortify and 3rd place finisher Bern Identity were also on pace to enter the Juvenile so it was pretty impressive to have taken them out with such a strong drive down the stretch and winning time of 1:22.72.
 
 
The big take away from the Hopeful is that this was a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race so Shanghai Bobby has qualified. The other is that all three horses looked certain to be moving forward on the trail to the Juvenile. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and owned by Godolphin Racing, Fortify has got the potential to meet or exceed the success of Alpha so he’ll be interesting to watch. It has been speculated that Bern Identity will eventually pass on the Juvenile but nothing is certain so we will have to wait until we get closer to the next big Juvenile Prep on the East Coast.
 
 
Up Next: G1 Champagne Stakes – Belmont Park – 1 Mile – 10/6
 
What I love about the Hopeful is that it is an awesome preview for the G1 Champagne so look for these horses to be the headliners along with Spurious Precision, winner of the G2 Saratoga Special. But again this race is another Breeders’ Cup Challenge so if a different 2-yr-old peaks at just the right time their ticket to the Juvenile will be won.
 
 
A couple of other races to keep our eyes on:
 
 
G1 Breeders’ Futurity – 1 1/16 Mile – Keeneland – 10/6
 
Run on the same day as the Champagne this race has one twist that we’ll have to pay attention to. As we know, Keeneland is a Synthetic Track so it will be interesting to see who will enter and if the winner will take advantage of their Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifier. It's likely but since Santa Anita has gone back to the dirt it will grab our attention.
 
 
G3 Grey Stakes – 1 1/16 Mile – Woodbine – 10/7
 
This race is very similar to the Dixiana. While it is not a part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge it’s still run on synthetics. So, a choice will be given to the winning connections in regard to the Juvenile so it will also be interesting to see it play out. 
 

 

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Older Comments about 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Road to Santa Anita ...

Floridaf, I too think he is that good. To me, he comes off as one of those who will improve and get better. Forget about Know more's connections, and just focus on the colt and what he has shown us so far. And no, I am not going to jump on the Shanghai Bobby bandwagon. Forget about that, it's not happening. he may be undefeated, but give him factors. Give him problems. Make him go the distance, and make him run into troubles, and then lets see how he comes out of it.
I think he is that good, I am sentimental and a fan of his connections but at this point he looks great.
Seems like we're all on board the Know More bandwagon. Is he that good, or are we all just being sentimental due to his connection to I'll Have Another?
Might have to add Tree of Life to the watch list, he's now 2 for 2 with his win in the Barrett's Juvenile
Know More too, is at the top of my list. I personally believe that Know More will do just fine on the dirt. As much as I want to like Rolling Fog, I do not think he is a distance horse, JMO...
Know More does looke like a nice one. But I agree you can't get excited when the wins are over poly.
Know More is at the top of my list, but I'll need to see a good performance away from Del Mar before I get too excited.

 

 

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About Me

Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer – Chicago, IL

 

Growing up I spent a lot of days in the Bluegrass State. Although I was born and raised north of the mighty Ohio River in Southwest Indiana, I was still next door to thoroughbred racing; Ellis Park, Henderson, KY 

 

Likewise, the first Saturday in May was always a celebrated family event. As my two brothers and I got older the battle for picking the next winner began to heat up. In 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance. Since then I’ve made it an annaual tradition because there’s no other city or weekend in the racing world like Louisville, KY on Derby Day. 

 

Although the story of a Kentucky Derby winner is legendary, following a champions trail is what The Kentucky Derby Post is all about. The coverage begins when the 2-yr-old preps commence but it does not quit racing until all results are official, the field is set, the picks are made and the roses are worn. But that’s not all because the road doesn’t stop on the First Saturday in May. The elusive quest for the next Triple Crown has reached 35 years so I invite my readers to remain in the saddle through all three legs as we await the next Champion of Champions. Cheers.

 

 

Kentucky Derby 2014

2013 Kentucky Derby